Kepler 20e & Kepler 20f: Earth-Like Planets, 1K Light Years Away

Posted on 22 December 2011 by author

With our planet getting smaller because of the billions of people living on it, it can’t be helped that NASA is looking for Earth-like planets that are possible to live in. And its Kepler’s space telescope may have just found not one, but two Earths.

According to NASA’s Kepler mission, the spacecraft discovered first Earth-size planets that are orbiting around a sun-like star outside the solar system. The space agency has named the two planets Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f and despite having Earth-like features, they have confirmed that the planets are nowhere near the habitable zone. This is because they are too near to their star and as a result, they are too hot and liquid water could not exist on the planets’ surface. Despite that, this discovery marks the next important milestone in the search for planets that are like Earth and could be habitable.

The Kepler-20e is smaller than Venus which measures at 0.87 times the radius of Earth while the Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth measuring at 1.03 times its radius. They are 1000 light-years away and are still a bit rocky. Aside from that, they are both very hot as they orbit around their parent star in just days. The Kepler-20e is 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit which is said could melt glass, while the Kepler-20f is at 800 degrees Fahrenheit that is the same as an average day of Mercury. Despite that, the Kepler mission is not losing hope of finding Earth-like planets that are habitable and could have life the same as Earth.

According to Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature, “The primary goal of the Kepler mission is to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone. This discovery demonstrates for the first time that Earth-size planets exist around other stars, and that we are able to detect them.”

So, we just have to wait and maybe in a few years, we will have another planet that we can live to.



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